Category Archives: British Embassy

Q&A: What does Brexit mean for my rights as a Brit living in Germany?

The Local in Germany, an english language news website, has interviewed Sir Sebastian Wood, British Ambassador to Germany and Axel Dittmann, head of the Brexit Taskforce for the Germany Federal Government, about the impact of Brexit for UK Nationals living in the country.

The article can be accessed free for a limited amount of time on their website.

Areas covered include:

  • Rights for Brits in Germany
  • Residence permits
  • Healthcare
  • Professional and academic qualifications
  • General

There is also a useful set of links to sources of further information at the end of the piece.

A future article will cover Brit who plan to move to Germany after the end of the Transition Period.

Images (c) Sara Gordon, 2019

British Embassy Facebook Q&A Sessions

The British Embassy runs InfoAbends and Facebook Q&A Sessions for those with questions regarding Brexit.

The next scheduled Facebook Q&A Sessions  are as follows:

  • Facebook Q&A. 23 March 2020, 7– 8.30 pm
  • Facebook Q&A. 25 May 2020, 7 – 8.30 pm
  • Facebook Q&A. 30 June 2020, 7.30 – 9 am

You can add your questions via the Embassy Facebook page once the Q&A Event is open.

More information regarding Embassy Events and the results of previous Facebook Q&A session can be found on the UK Government Website.

 

Embassy Event in Paderborn

The British Embassy will be holding an information event for UK citizens in Paderborn on December 2nd. This will involve updates from the British Consul General and from the Paderborn Ausländerbehörde, followed by a Q&A session. Members from BiG will also be present.

The event is free but registration beforehand is required. See this site for more information and to register now.

Image: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/open-evening-for-uk-national-in-paderborn-tickets-82175512169?utm_term=eventurl_text

Embassy Facebook Live Q+A

The British Embassy will be holding another Facebook Live event, giving you a chance to get a direct answer to any Brexit-related questions you might have. The event will take place on the British Embassy Facebook page next Monday (21st of October) at 18:00-19:30. Any questions submitted during this time will receive an answer by Friday 25th at the latest.

BiG will also be monitoring the event. If you are unable to join at that time or would like to ask a question anonymously, you can submit it to us at info@britishingermany.org, and we will post it for you.

Upcoming information events

The British Embassy is organising information events in order to ensure that Brits living in Germany are kept in the loop with information regarding the UK’s preparations to leave the EU. These events will be an opportunity for UK nationals to pose questions regarding individual situations and a British in Germany e.V. representative has also been invited to speak at each event.

DATES AND LOCATIONS

  • Berlin, 30 September – register here
  • Düsseldorf, 1 October – register here
  • Frankfurt, 10 October – register here
  • Hamburg, 15 October – register here
  • Munich, 24 October – register here

Please bear in mind that interested participants will have to register in advance. Details to follow.

Also see the Embassy’s webpage.

British Embassy hold their first Facebook Live Event

Report by Elise Shepley (BIG Intern)

The British Embassy in Berlin led an hour-long Facebook live Q&A on August 6th 2019, in an attempt to directly address the questions and concerns of British citizens living in Germany in the run up to Brexit.

Over 200 questions were answered, and the Embassy has subsequently produced a summary of the event, which documents all of the questions and answers posed during the Q&A session. All questions posed within the hour-long time frame received a response from the Embassy over the following 24 hours.

The Embassy’s document has been organised into eight categories determined by the questions posed:

  • Residency (103 questions)
  • Work, qualifications, pensions, and benefits (36 questions)
  • Travel (15 questions)
  • Healthcare (24 questions)
  • Passport and nationality (18 questions)
  • Miscellaneous (16 questions)
  • Returning to the UK (5 questions)
  • Education (1 question)

Residency was therefore by far the most recurrent theme, with particular concerns about registration for residency permits being raised. The Embassy reiterates that anyone previously exercising free movement rights in Germany may be granted a residency permit, with permanent permits only being granted automatically to those who have been in Germany five years or longer.  The Embassy also confirms that the residency permit is not tied to any German language requirements, nor to employment status.

Other recurring themes included questions about the future status of health insurance policies for UK citizens in Germany (S1), queries about dual citizenship and the position of family members of different nationalities, and about potential issues in travelling into Germany and returning to the UK.

The FB live event created on the whole very positive feedback from BiG members and the Embassy committed a significant amount of manpower and resources to the event.    We hope this will set the precedent for further FB live events in Germany and across Europe as British citizens living in the EU face increasing uncertainty and anxiety about their lives and livelihoods living in Europe.

You can also access the full Embassy document with all of the questions and responses.

Report: British Embassy Event, Berlin, 30 April 2019

On the 30th of April, the British Embassy in Berlin hosted two info events for British citizens living in Germany. Rachel King from the British Embassy introduced the event and discussed the current situation. She was followed by Herr Engelhard Mazanke, head of the Ausländerbehörde (Foreigners Registration Office in Berlin, LABO) in Berlin. To round up the speeches, Prisca Merz, the Embassy’s regional policy advisor, spoke about what the Embassy in Berlin is doing to keep UK citizens informed during these febrile uncertain times. The key points of the speeches in the order they were delivered are as follows:

From Rachel King: first, the current Brexit extension is to last until 31st October 2019. If a deal is ratified by both the UK Parliament and the EU before that date, the UK will leave on the first day of the following month. The withdrawal agreement protects the rights of residents in their current country of residence and allows for a transition period until 31.12.2020, this is the preferred course of the EU and the British government. The government of the UK does not accept a no deal scenario. Please see the policy paper on citizens’ rights in a no-deal scenario on the UK government website (www.uk.gov/world/living-in-germany). The policy paper discusses rights to work, study, receive benefits/ services, and pensions in Germany in all scenarios. It also gives dates and guidelines for families who are moving back to the UK, and explains how their family members can join them within the time limit.

The UK has decided to guarantee EU citizens in UK the ability to bring a partner, spouse, or dependent to the UK until 29 March 2022. It is unclear what the requirements would be after this date. In terms of higher education, EU nationals are eligible for home fees for 7 years after exit day if they have started their studies before exit.

If the UK leaves without a deal, UK nationals will not need visas for short stays elsewhere in the EU. You will be able to stay up to 90 days in another EU country, within a 180 day period. The request from the UK government is that the EU countries will respond in kind.

During the event, Germany government officials repeated many times that no UK citizen in Germany will be asked to leave due to Brexit.

The extension also means that UK citizens can take part in the EU elections. They should register before 7 May for UK and before 5 May for Germany.

As a result of the uncertainty surrounding exit day, the German government has passed a law regarding social security contributions. This law also allows for UK citizens to join German health insurance:

Steps recommended to take now:

1. Register with German authorities (Anmeldungsbescheinigung)

2. Contact your local LABO for new documentation–for example, Berlin provides online registration. If you have not already registered, please do so. This is to help ensure you can continue to live and work Germany regardless of the uncertainty of not knowing when exit day will happen.

3. Change your UK driver’s license to a German one. You will be allowed to drive in the UK on a German license, but it is unclear at this time if you will be able to drive in Germany with a UK licence.

4. If you have qualifications that have not yet been recognised in Germany, you should do so now. This is not required for academic qualifications, such as a B.A.

5. Ensure that your passport is valid for a minimum of 6months after 31.10.2019.

Information is constantly updated on the embassy website and you can follow them on social media, sign up for emails, and check the website frequently for updates.

After Ms. King’s speech, Herr Mazanke, Head of the Foreigners Registration Office in Berlin started his speech with apologies. At this time he is unable to give any concrete details about what is in store for Brits in Germany after exit. With the lack of clarity in outcomes, he does not have all the information yet.

The process is still open and ongoing. He stated clearly that his advice is for Berliners only and that he cannot speak for other Bundesländer and is not informed as to how each of them is handling Brexit and the registration process.

He encourages all who are not from Berlin to make themselves known to their individual Ausländerbehörde and follow the instructions given.

What has changed in Berlin since the last information meeting? 10,000 of 18,000 (registered as living in Berlin at the local Rathäuser) Brits in Berlin have signed up with the LABO. 4,000 UK citizens in Berlin have been invited to appointments. Those invited so far have shown a long-term commitment in Germany and have been resident for over 5 years. 400 have already had their appointments and each have received a Niederlassungserlaubnis, a form of permanent residency in Germany.

There have been three main responses from UK citizens in Berlin that Herr Mazanke’s office have received:

1. Why have I been invited? You are all still EU citizens and no one is required to attend these appointments. If you choose not to come, please inform your case worker, so that they can offer the appointment to someone else. For every five people invited, four have shown up.

2. Fear. With responses such as: “my file isn’t complete,” “I do not have a valid passport,” or “will I be deported?,” etc. Herr Mazanke reiterated that no Berliners will be deported. You are here on your right to free movement as an EU citizen. Please come to the appointments.

3. Relief. People have expressed gratitude for the smooth process. Come what may,their residency in Germany is resolved. Please take the appointments seriously. There is no fee for permanent residency. UK families living in Berlin are being invited as a unit. If a person has not lived in Germany for five years they will receive a two year permit. This can be renewed until five years’ residence is reached. This is being done so that families can continue to live and travel together within the Schengen zone.

The current set of appointments given out by LABO has filled up all slots available to Brits until the end of June. All those who have yet to receive an invitation should check back on our website, as there will be a step-by-step process depending on happens in the UK from 1 July, dependent on whether the UK takes part in the EU elections – which is now certain.

The goal of the LABO is that all UK citizens in Berlin are given the chance to go through the registration process and that everyone has a residency title appointment before 31.12.2019. Of course this is dependent on how the Brexit situation develops. Herr Mazanke reiterated: please register online and follow our FAQs on the LABO website. Finally, Herr Mazanke thanked all Brits in Germany for their patience and understanding in this uncertain time.

At the end, Frau Prisca Merz, Regional Consular Policy Advisor at the British Embassy, then introduced the different tables at the information fair. These tables included information about health insurance, pensions, DAAD (education and access to universities), the German Federal Employment Agency, Citizenship and our British in Germany Verein . She concluded by repeating that anyone registered with the Ausländerbehörde and awaiting an appointment can continue to work and live in Berlin until they receive a decision on residency. It was suggested that the final acknowledgement screen is printed out and kept as evidence of having completed the online registration.

At the British in Germany table Jane, Jenny, Rachel and I spoke with many people about their concerns and about what British in Germany as an organisation does. We received many thanks for the hard work being done behind the scenes in Germany, and by our umbrella organisation British in Europe. Most who came to the table signed up for our emails and others offered to volunteer. We look forward to seeing many of those at the next Stammtisch on 11 May.

Sara Gordon
BiG Volunteer and Stammtisch leader.
______


NOTE: The next BiG Stammtisch in Berlin will take place on 11 May at BrewDog (Berlin-Mitte) from 1pm-5pm. BrewDog is a British bar with craft beers and cider on draft. This week we will be discussing the current Brexit situation, new information from the Ausländerbehörde Berlin, and your questions. Please note that the Stammtisch will now be monthly, so don’t miss this chance to meet up with other Brits and have a pint. We look forward to seeing you there!

InfoEvents in Berlin, 30 April

In cooperation with German partners and British in Germany e.V., the British Embassy Berlin will host an Open Afternoon and Evening on Tuesday 30th April 2019. This will be an opportunity for you to find out how the UK leaving the EU might affect your rights to live and work in Germany.

Economic Counsellor Rachel King will give an update on issues relating to citizens’ rights and what this means for you after the UK leaves the EU. She will be joined by the Head of the Berlin Foreigners Authority (Ausländerbehörde) Engelhard Mazanke, who will explain the registration process in Berlin.

Following the introductions there will be an Info Fair, where you will be able to speak to representatives from key German authorities on pensions, health insurance, residency, naturalisation, studying and Erasmus, and working in Germany (participating organisations to be confirmed).

Location: British Embassy Berlin,
Wilhelmstrasse 70, D-10117 Berlin, Germany

Afternoon Event:

14:30 Doors open

15:00 Welcome addresses

15:30 Info Fair

17:00 Event closes

Spaces are limited – please register on Eventbrite.

Evening Event:

18:00 Doors open

18:30 Welcome addresses

19:00 Info Fair

20:30 Event closes

Spaces are limited – please register on Eventbrite:.

If you reserve a ticket but find yourself unable to attend, please let us know so that we can allocate the ticket to someone else.

Please not that only registered guests can be permitted entry to the Embassy and photo ID is required.

Image: By Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France – L’Ambassade du Royaume-Uni (Berlin), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6791741